People Trying to Help The Birds
This weekend Young Naturalist J and I heard about some dead Common Loons that were found along Lake Erie (and had to check it out). We made a little detour from some roadside birding to check a public beach to see if the rumors were true. We found 4 dead loons in just one small area of the beach and it was soo sad seeing these guys. I found a press release that was released today discussing the die off of these Common Loons in this area and as we expected, they died due to Type E Botulism!
It appears from the press release that over 100 dead loons have been found this past week in this area that we were birding. The Type E Botulism has been killing birds in Lake Erie since 2000 and is tied to the loons feeding on Round Goby and quagga mussels. These invasive species are the current link to Type E Botulism . . . .and as these invasive species increase . . . the death of of these birds, fish and mudpuppies have also increased!
I couldn’t do this post without mentioning the oil spill that happened in San Francisco Bay last week Wednesday. As of yesterday evening (Tuesday) the Oiled Wildlife Care Network has washed (and saved) 244 birds and reported 590 deaths of birds. I did a quick flickr search and found a series of oiled spilled loon and cormorant photos on Trish Carney’s Photostream. She is showing the amazing volunteer work that so many like her have been doing trying to save many of these oiled birds.
Oiled Loon (Photo by Trish Carney used with permission )
Besides those working directly with the birds, there were over 500 volunteers this weekend that helped clean the spilled oil from the San Francisco Bay. One of these individuals was photographer KO Ichiro who also gave me permission to post one of his pictures (of those help cleaning the beach)! I am so mesmerized by the multiple photos everyone have been capturing on this sad event.
Cleaning the Beach (Photo by KO ichiro used with permission).
Birds are dying around us and it is good to know that there are people out their making a difference! Scientist have been looking at the stomach contents of the Loons in Lake Erie and learning exactly how these birds are getting the Botulism disease. Lets hope they are come up with something to stop these deaths. Then there are those hundreds of volunteers who are doing everything they can to make a difference after some idiot drove a tanker ship into the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. So many have made a difference in helping and sometimes it is hard when you feel helpless and unable to help (like I felt this weekend with the loons)! But ,I do feel better knowing that there are so many people out their trying to saving these birds, one bird at a time!
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More info on Type E Botulism from Sea Grant Michigan
More info on the California Oil Spill visit
National Public Radio
UC Davis: Oiled Wildlife
International Bird Rescue Research
DC Birding Blog (Another Oil Spill) (Oil Spill in California) (Oil Spill Roundup)
Mike’s Birding and Digiscoping Blog (Bird’s Threatened by Spill)